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tv   News 4 Midday  NBC  September 2, 2010 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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right now the surf is starting to get rough and more evacuations are being ordered along the north carolina coast. hurricane earl is headed toward the coast with winds of 145 miles per hour. forecasters tracking the storm are watching for any little turn toward the west. and our other big story this morning, employees are returning to discovery channel's headquarters a day after a gunman carrying explosives stormed the building and took hostages. "news 4 midday" begins right now. good morning, everyone, and welcome to "news 4 midday." i'm barbara harrison. it's thursday, september 2nd, 2010. police are still stationed outside the discovery channel's headquarters in silver spring. nearly 24 hours after a gunman with explosives held three people hostage inside. this morning, police announced
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that the suspected gunman, james lee, had four explosives strapped to his body. lee was later shot and killed by police. the three hostages were able to escape and no one else was hurt. it was a terribly frightening ordeal for the hundreds of employees who work at the building in silver spring. news 4's megan mcgrath has been there all morning long and joins was the latest. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, barbara. if you take a look behind me, wayne salve still closed off in one direction here, the side right up against the discovery building. we still have quite a police presence here on the scene. they have actually given the all-clear for the discovery building. every area except for the lobby. they are still doing some investigating in that lobby area back where this confrontation took place. and so it might be some time before that a area is opened up to discovery employees. but employees are returning to work, at least for a few hours today, if they so choose. the building opened up at 10:00 this morning and will be open until 1:00 in the afternoon.
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but as you would imagine, it was a very, very chaotic and frightening scene for many, so they'll certainly be a lot of anxious people returning to this building today. when james lee burst into the lobby of the discovery building, he was waving a handgun and had several explosive devices strapped to his chest. today we are learning more about those homemade bombs and their lethal potential. >> he had four devices on him. there were two propane tanks, the kind that you would use going camping. the propane tanks had pipes with shotgun shells attached to them. he also had two pipe bombs that contained fireworks-type explosives. >> reporter: for nearly four hours, lee held a security guard and two employees hostage. when an nbc news producer called discovery's general line, lee picked up the telephone and started talking. >> i have a gun and i have a
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bomb. i have several bombs strapped to my body, ready to go off. i have a device that if i drop it, if i drop it, it -- i'll [ bleep ] explode. >> reporter: the standoff came to an end when police say lee pointed a gun at the hostages, promming s.w.a.t. team members to open fire. lee was killed. overnight, police continued to collect physical in evidence the building. officers could be seen in the lobby and searching the bushes around the entrance. as morning wore on, investigators loaded bags and boxes of evidence into a waiting van. a section of wayne avenue remains closed this morning. while the building has been given the all-clear, police continue to control the lobby area where the confrontation took place. all the other roads that were closed yesterday have reopened. wayne salve the only one closed at this point and it's unclear how long police will keep it blocked off, but it could be a good part of the day as they continue with their work inside that lobby area. now as for the employees, we are
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expecting to learn that the discovery executives have started to talk to them. that was expected to happen around 11:00 this morning. they were going to talk to employees who came here today about what happened. and then the building is expected to close right around 1:00 this afternoon and remain closed until after the holiday so they won't come back to work, won't reopen the building until tuesday. barba barbara, back to you. >> thank you, megan. we're learning more about the man behind yesterday's terrifying standoff. his name is james jay lee. he's 43 years old. he has previous addresses in hawaii, california, and washington state. but he has lived in our area for the past several years. in march of 2008, he was convicted of disorderly conduct after organizing the protest outside the discovery building. a judge gave him a six-month suspeus is spended sentence and warned him he could spend 60 days in jail if he ever again came within 500 feet of the building. lee also listed a local homeless
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organization as an address. news 4's tracee wilkins talked with the executive director of the emergency services center in silver spring. >> reporter: as we learn more about james lee, we're also learning about places that he once called home. one of the places that he listed as an address is shepherd's table here in silver spring. when news began reporting that the suspected gunman inside the discovery communications building was james lee, it was a name some clients here at shepherd's table remembered. in 2008, lee organized a protest outside discovery's building, seen here on youtube. he offered thousands of dollars in cash in exchange for participation, and there was more cash thrown into the air at the protest. >> i understand that some of our clients did know mr. lee from 2008 when he -- when he did offer them money to protest. >> reporter: have you ever heard of something like that before? >> i've not heard of something like that before. it was unusual. it happened -- it's regretful.
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>> reporter: the stun got lee arrested and six months of supervised probation. lee had listed the shepherd's table as an address on more than one occasion, but the executive director for the program says that that's not that uncommon. >> people don't have a fixed address or they're living with friends. you know, they dope han't have address of their own, they could come to shepherd's table and apply to use us as an address. it's a wonderful service for people. >> reporter: the shepherd's table is actually a resource center for displaced people offering food and other services but only serves as an emergency shelter in the winter. but the executive director and also caseworkers here say lee was not a formal client. >> mr. lee did not access services here at shepherd's table. we received one piece of mail for him. he never came by to pick it up. he never really formally applied to have mail delivered here. we have no knowledge that he came for dinner or accessed any other services.
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>> reporter: some resident who is did not want to talk on camera say they newley and knew of him, specifically because of that protest that he did in 2008. they say it was an opportunity for them to earn money, and they jumped at the chance. in silver spring, i'm tracee wilkins, news 4. we'll have much more on this standoff situation throughout our newscast. you can also see the entire time line of events at hurricane earl is heading toward the eastern seaboard this morning, and travelers are watching its tracks very closely ahead of the holiday weekend. at least five of the big airlines have waved change fees for customers flying into the path of the hurricane, and several amtrak routes between virginia's tidewater area and newport news have been canceled because of the coming storm. these are live pictures from wrightsville beach, north carolina. many tourists and residents have left north carolina's outer banks. it's still unclear how close the strongest winds and heaviest surge will get to north
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carolina's fragile chain of barrier islands. tom is here now to tell us what he sees going on right now and some changes happening as we speak. it looks like the winds are picking up at wrightsville beach. you can see the camera bouncing around, and the surf is getting rougher at wrightsville beach, north carolina. well, let's take a look across the tropical atlantic. we've got three named storms. we've got the major hurricane earl and then far to the south and east of that is a rather disorganized tropical storm, fiona. and that, though, is showing a little more organization as it moves off to the north, and that will likely stay way out to sea and not threaten the atlantic seaboard. farther to the east is gaston. it is a tropical storm and it's heading due west and will be maybe ten days away threatening anything along our atlantic seaboard. but now here is what's been happening with hurricane earl over the last 12 hours. it has shown it's continuing to hold its strength as a category 4 hurricane advancing to the north. already some of the clouds from hurricane earl have advanced all the way into our area.
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in fact, we can see them coming over washington and they're covering areas just to our east, as well. here's the latest track. winds have diminished a little bit, but it's still a powerful category 4 storm. the latest track still continues right near the outer banks around midnight tonight and just to the east of virginia beach, perhaps around 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, then just east of ocean city by around dawn tomorrow, and then around looks like about 8:00 p.m. on friday, right near just to the east of martha's vineyard, right near, passing over nantucket. and that is going to continue this closer view of the track, going to continue to move on up toward cape cod, as well. as that storm does exit and heads up that way, it will be weakening quite a bit. well, what does it look like at ocean city? joining us right now live in ocean city is the weather channel's julie martin. julie, do you see the surf picking up there yet? >> reporter: yeah. i would say the surf this morning has been probably in
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that 4 to 5-feet range in terms of wave height out there, tom. and you can see the beaches still full of people, though, and maybe getting in those final moments because tomorrow will be a complete washout, needless to say. we are expecting the most significant impacts to hit here around 3:00 in the morning, as you said, just before dawn. and that is probably a good thing because very few people are going to be out here on the beach. but i know you're familiar with the rip current situation here. just last weekend about 500 rescues with hurricane danielle far offshore. this storm is certainly going to be a lot closer. we're anticipating about 150 miles or so off the maryland coast, which is going to bring in some pretty significant waves, some pretty significant rip currents that are going to be lasting well beyond earl, which is a very quick-moving storm. it's going to be out of here by the very busy labor day weekend, but those rip currents will not be so. in talking with local officials, beach patrol, that's really what they're most worried about with
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this system is that those lingering effects, those rip currents could be deadly over the weekend and they're going to have to be keeping a very careful eye on people, particularly the many tourists as they're getting into the water. tom? >> julie, those breakers are looking pretty big there behind you. have the life dpards taguards tt closing that beach? >> reporter: nothing so far. you know, yesterday what they did in the afternoon is they did limit that people could only go in up to their knees. now, they have not done that yet, but certainly a possibility. they say that they're extra staffed and they're going to be vigilant about this and trying to keep people safe who are here for the weekend, tom. >> thanks so much. julie martin, weather channel, live at ocean city for us. we'll be getting frequent reports from weather channel reporters all along the track of hurricane earl over the next 24 to 48 hours. barbara? >> tom, i was thinking with somebody up in the cape cod area who said they've already closed some beaches up there because of the tidal surge.
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would they already be feeling that far north already? >> well, probably not too seriously yet. but this is probably just precautionary in advance of the storm. >> i see. okay. we'll continue to follow earl. >> okay. >> see where it's going. we'll check on midday traffic with hirssteve hirsch h in for jerry edwards. how is it going? >> going very slowly. unfortunately, barbara, right now, here we are at springfield over on the traffic heading away from us, southbound 95 heading into the work zone still there in the right lane near newington now. some relief, though, that the hov lanes have been opened in the southbound directions. that's going to help us out a little bit. if we take a look at a map, we'll see a lot of cones in the middle of the screen. there are at least three separate work zones on the southeast/southwest freeway between the 14th bridge and 18th street southeast. you're heading in that direction, be prepared for a little wait along the freeway along 395 north and southbound. back to you. >> steve, thank you.
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13 minutes after 11:00. coming up, preparations, president obama's calling for ahead of hurricane earl. plus secretary of state hillary clinton opens the first direct peace talks between israel and the palestinians in nearly two years. and mayor fenty makes an admission during the most recent debate with challenger vincent gray. we'll also look at last night's wild nationals game. one player throws a punch, then gets pummeled. stay with us.
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today, formal mideast peace negotiations begin in washington. t president barack obama says he's cautiously hopeful the israeli and palestinian leaders can settle their differences. it's the first direct talks between the two groups in nearly two years. secretary of state hillary clinton, jordan's king abdullah and britain's tony blair will take part in the negotiations to create a palestinian state. the plan is to come up with a peace deal by this time next year. and now to the race for mayor. current d.c. mayor adrian fenty wants voters to give him another chance. fenty and his opponent, council chairman vincent gray, squared off in an hour-long debate sponsored by nbc 4, "the washington post" and wamu 88.5 radio. fenty acknowledges his personality has turned off too many voters. gray says fenty hasn't had a change of heart but a change of strategy. >> what they want from me in the
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second term is someone who makes sure we bring into account more people's views, listens better. with my energy and the commitment and what i've heard from residents, we're committed to doing that in the second term. it's a lesson learned and one i'll make an adjustment on in the future. >> frankly, i don't think it's a change of heart. i think it's a change of strategy, and that is to try to convince people now that i'm going to be a different person than i've been for three years and 8 1/2 months of a term that you're going to become a different person in two weeks. i don't think so. >> d.c. mayor adrian fenty made a strong appeal but even some of his supporters fear it may have come too late to save him. and you can watch the debate in its entirety after midday at noon here on nbc 4. and we are following a developing story with hurricane earl right off our coast. and it's not alone out there. tropical storms fiona and gaston are also churning in the atlantic. ahead of earl, president obama declared an emergency in north carolina. that grants homeland security
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and fema authorization to coordinate disaster relief efforts. authorities issued mandatory evacuations for parts of north carolina's outer banks. vacationers are obeying those orders and pack lging up and heading home. farther north, marina workers on new york's long island are hauling boats out of the water now. >> tidal surge is going to be tremendous, 10 to 1 one foot. that's above all the pilings. if a piling comes down on one of these boats they'll sink. >> maryland governor martin o'malley is also taking precautions. he signed a declaration of emergency requiring state emergency management officials to coordinate their activities. and tom joins us again to talk a little bit more about earl and how it's going to affect our weather around here. tom? >> we're already seeing high clouds from earl. the view from our skywatcher camera looking off toward virginia in the distance. northwest washington in the foreground. those clouds you see in the sky are clouds that are coming from earl, which is hundreds of miles away from us, but this is the
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extent of the storm. it's affecting the atmosphere from here all the way down to near florida. so we are already seeing those high clouds coming from earl. right now 85 at national airport. dew points in the mid-60s. that's moderately humid. we have a southerly breeze. right now in prince george's, mopt gomry, arlington, fairfax countys in the middle 80s as well. eastern shore, mid-80s. mid and upper 80s to our west and north, shenandoah valley, blue ridge, as well as much of virginia and maryland. temperatures in the mountains cooler in the 70s, eastern shore in the mid-60s, mid-80s, as well, at the atlantic beaches there where julie martin was. the surf is already nowicking up there. we can see some of the high clouds coming in here on this infrared satellite picture. now, yes, we've got three named storms in the tropical atlantic. here's earl. fiona is a rather disorganized tropical storm, but it is getting a little more organized now. and gaston is also a disorganized tropical storm. but it will likely gain strength as it heads off to the east or rather to the west from the
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east. fiona looks like it's going to stay far off the atlantic seaboard with its track. well, here's a close-up view of hurricane earl. this is an infrared satellite image which measures the temperature of the clouds and the reds are the colder clouds. the higher clouds are showing there's more rain and intense winds around the center of circulation. it's continuing to advance on this track moving toward the north now rather than a northwesterly track, moving towards the north. it will start to take a curve more toward the northeast, but it will come close enough to outer banks late tonight for it to, indeed, give them hurricane-force winds when it comes right around cape hatteras. these are the latest statistics now. still a category 4 storm with 140-mile-per-hour winds. so it's very strong. it has decreased a little bit in the winds, but it's still a very powerful storm. we'll likely see fluctuation in the winds here in the next 12 hours or so. but it appears by about 8:00 on friday morning after it passes by the outer banks around midnight tonight, by around 8:00
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it will be right near the mouth of the chesapeake bay as far as its location latitude-wise, but it will be out to sea about 100 miles, the center of circulation. this area of orange is the zone of tropical storm-force winds which by 8:00 in the morning there could be tropical storm-force winds from near the cape all the way down to as ateague and virginia beach. it takes more of a turn towards the northeast, but the center of circulation may pass right over nantucket and near martha's vineyard as well as right near cape cod. by then it will be diminished and will have weakened to a category 2 or category 1 hurricane but still enough perhaps to cause some problems. closer view of this track is showing, yes, by around midnight right here the outer banks here, but thankfully the center of circulation will be a couple hundred miles off our atlantic seaboard, off the delaware, virginia, maryland beaches by time it passes by midmorning tomorrow. here's how things are looking for the watches and warnings. they extend all the way from the outer banks up to the coast of
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maine. right now the eastern shore is under a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning. the futurecast showing the high pressure over, this area of dry weather and a lot of sun. it's going to dissipate as earl passes by. sunny this afternoon, moderate humidity, highs in the low to mid-90s. overnight tonight, partly cloudy, near 70 by dawn tomorrow. during the day friday, here just partly sunny, mid-80s, maybe a passing shower mainly just coming as a weak front comes through by tomorrow evening. and then this situation will improve dramatically over the weekend. beautiful weather for the labor day weekend. a bit breezy saturday, but sunny, near 80 as well as on sunday with diminished winds. for labor day itself, it ought to be up in the 80s with sunshine and low humidity, just a perfect day for outdoor recreation on labor day. a little bit hotter on tuesday and wednesday but not too humid as we get back to work and school. that's the way it looks right now. we'll seep you posted on earl. stay tuned.
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>> we'll talk to you again shortly. thank you, tom. out to the roads with steve hirschhorn. steve? >> thanks, barbara. taking a look here, the work zone on shady grove road not far from 370 between briardale road and crabs branch way. so far not too bad to get through it. yesterday caused some backups but today it looks like we're in better shape there. over in springfield, delays are easing up as you can see to the right, southbound 95 into the work zone after newington, still blocking the right lane but the hov lane's been open now for more than a half an hour. and that really helps to head you south of springfield on your way past the work zone heading down to the ok kwan. we're in much better shape south of town. back to you. >> steve, thank you. 11:23. still ahead on "news 4 midday," all of the computers at the dm sflshgs virginia are back up and working properly now. but there are some things you need to know before you get your license. and the rocky musical getting rave reviews at the signature theater. more on that coming up. first here's what's hot on
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the redskins will play their final pre-season game tonight. they head to arizona to take on the cardinals. the team will be without donovan mcnabb, though, who's still nursing a sprained ankle. catch all the action on the at
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10:00 on nbc 4. if you were watching the nationals game, you might have thought it was a hockey game at the top of the sixth inning last night. the nationals' nyjer morgan charged the mound after marlins' chris volstad threw a pitch behind him. morgan was hit by a pitch earlier in the game. all this came a day after morgan separated the shoulder of florida catcher brett hayes when colliding with him at home plate. morgan and volstad were both ejected last night. 11:27 is the time right now. come ug up in next half hour of "news 4 midday," earl could hit the u.s. mainland by midnight tonight. we have the latest track on how people are preparing. and a look at james lee, the center of yesterday's hostage incident at discovery's headquarters in silver spring. and another chance for maryland residents to speak out against pepco. dentures are softer than teeth.
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and a lot of people, when they get a denture,
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they think the best way to clean it is by brushing it with toothpaste. toothpaste contains abrasives that scratch dentures, leaving microscopic crevices where bacteria can grow, and bacteria can cause bad breath. the best way to go is to soak them in polident. only polident is proven to clean without scratching and kills 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria. i recommend using polident and soak every day. it's the right way to go.
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right now on "news 4 midday," police are still trying to piece together what led a gunman to storm into the discovery channel headquarters in silver spring sparking a four-hour hostage standoff. according to police, james lee burst into the building's lobby yesterday afternoon waving a handgun. he also had several explosive devices strapped to his chest. police say lee held three people
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hostage for several hours until he was shot and killed by police. this morning we're learning more about the homemade bombs that he was carrying and their lethal potential. >> he had four devices on him. there were two propane tanks, the kind that you would use going camping. the propane tanks had pipes with shotgun shells attached to them. he also had two pipe bombs that contained fireworks-type explosives. >> overnight, the police bomb squad cleared the building of explosive devices. the standoff may be over, but questions still remain about the gunman. here is some of what we know. he's 43 years old. he was. he had previous addresses in hawaii, california, and washington state. but he has lived in our area for the past several years, and he was apparently angry with discovery's programming. news 4's elaine reyes is live in the newsroom with more. elaine? >> barbara, people who were aware of james lee says he appeared to be troubled and a
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transient with no known home. an nbc news producer called discovery headquarters yesterday, and lee answered the telephone. >> so, how long have you been working on this particular bomb? >> three weeks around, three weeks or a month. >> three weeks? >> did a lot of research. i had to experiment. >> and how many bombs, again, do you have? >> i have several. >> james lee was known to some at the discovery channel. he's protested against them in the past, handing out leaflets about global warming and animal extension. take a look at this video from an incident in front of the building back in 2008. in this youtube video, lee is in the middle of the crowd throwing money in the air to bystanders. afterwards, police arrested lee and charged him with disorderly conduct. he served a ten-day sentence and was ordered to stay away from the building as part of his probation. but that probation recently ended. lee wanted more discovery channel programming on saving the planet.
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he disliked several of the channel's shows and called for population reduction. rob rivas is the producer who spoke to lee shortly before he died. >> absolutely. he wanted to have his story told, at least as far as i could tell. he spoke the entire time. i never heard him make any direct threats to anyone in the room, if there were people in the room with him. it sounded like an average conversation between two individuals. >> lee has a series of rans online including a manifesto with his demands. he received services at shepherd's table in silver spring. it's an organization that helps the homeless. but apparently he did not remain in that program. barbara, back to you. >> thank you, elaine. we're also learning more about those three hostages today. one of them is a former nbc 4 employee. jim mcnulty was trapped inside the lobby of the discovery building for four hours yesterday. after being questioned extensively by police, he and the other two hostages were able
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to go home last night. mcnulty then posted this statement on his facebook page -- "first of all, i want to thank the montgomery county police and all the agencies that responded today for helping to ensure the safety of all my colleagues at discovery communications and for helping to get me and my fellow hostages out safely." and now to the very active atlantic hurricane season. hurricane earl has most of the east coast on alert this morning. thousands are evacuating parts of north carolina's outer banks. maryland's governor, martin o'malley, signed a declaration of emergency requiring state emergency managers coordinate their efforts. nbc's kristen dahlgren has more on preparations ahead of the storm. >> reporter: as darkness fell on the carolina coast, earl strengthened, bringing with it powerful waves but also uncertainty. >> a big unknown. if it stays out to sea, we probably would have been okay and gotten rain. >> do you board up? >> i haven't yet to this point,
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but this might be the first. >> reporter: but officials warn that the slightest change could bring a direct hit and that either way hurricane or tropical storm-force winds are now less than a day away. and so on pars of the outer banks, mandatory evacuations are under way, and watches and warnings in effect from north carolina all the way to new england. a huge stretch of the east coast in the strike zone. >> the hurricane's coming, and i'm hoping we can make it back into town fairly quickly. i'm a little nervous about the roads and the backups for the evacuations. >> reporter: and so anxious vacationers packed in their weekend plans, headed to safer grounds, while on new york's long island, marinas hauled boats out of the water. >> the tidal surge is going to be tremendous, maybe 10, 1 one foot. that will be above the pilings. if a piling comes down on one of these boats, it will sink. >> reporter: as millions watch to see where earl will go, the storm already crashing labor day plans up and down the coast.
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kristen dahlgren, nbc news, kill devil hills, north carolina. >> earl is also why thousands of people will get their social security checks today. the social security administration is delivering them a day ahead of schedule on the east coast so the hurricane doesn't delay the process. tom is back with us again. tom, how soon along the north carolina coast will they start to feel the tidal surge? >> well, in about 12 hours they're going to be experiencing some high waves as well as perhaps near hurricane-force winds by midnight tonight there. here, while we are already seeing some of the high clouds out ahead of earl in our sky, that's a live picture from our skywatcher camera overlooking arlington and fairfax county in the distance, those clouds are coming from earl. well, it's a hot morning, late morning temperatures already now into the upper 80s in many locations, mideigh-80s in washington. the atlantic, it's cool we are that flow. earl did strengthen overflight
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to 145-mile-per-hour winds. the latest observation has it down to 140, but it is still a powerful category 4 hurricane moving toward the north now at 16 miles an hour. that's good news as far as moving northwest. now it's heading to the north and it will eventually pass off to the northeast but come close enough to the outer banks by midnight tonight with hurricane-force winds. by 8:00 tomorrow morning, tropical storm-force winds will be right along our atlantic beaches -- maryland, delaware, and virginia, through the morning hours with, as well, heavy downpours from some passing bands of tropical storm downpours and rain. and then at the atlantic beaches, too. we'll have some very heavy surf and the storm system itself will head toward new england friday night. for us, highs in the low 90s today, mid-80s tomorrow, just a shawl small chance of a shower during the afternoon mainly and likely on the eastern shore, east of the bay. breezy sad and sunday, near 80, sunny on sunday near 80, a beautiful labor day to come. highs in the low to mid-80s with low humidity and it looks like it will be settled back into
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work and school tuesday and wednesday next week. >> so around here, just have to get through friday. >> we'll be doing all right. >> all right. we'll check the midday traffic with steve hirschhorn with the latest. >> hey, barbara, not too bad right now. here we are at springfield. it was very heavy before hay opened up the hov southbound, but now that we have that help, leaving springfield down the work zone in newington, blocks the right lane and continuing to the ok ka kwan. on this thursday before the long weekend, we have that going for us. some roadwork where cones are in the left center of your screen is on westbound 66 heading outbound, leaving falls church on way to tyson's corner right at the entrance to the toll road, 67 west. you lose that left lane for roadwork once again today. not too bad to get past that. barbara? >> steve, thank you. today virginians w their driver's licenses renewed again.
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the dmv glitch is fixed. it kept thousands from getting licenses renewed. today all 74 dmv nz the commonwealth will be fully operational. as many as 45,000 virginians haven't been able to renew since the problem began last week. if you need to get your license renewed, you'll have more time to do it. all dmvs will remain open until 6:00 p.m. tomorrow night. hours of operations will be extended on saturday at 14 dmvs including those at alexandria, fair oaks, woodbridge and leesburg. frustrated pepco customers will have another opportunity to speak their minds tonight. the maryland public service commission decided to host two public hearings about the reliability and quality of utility service. over the summer, several storms caused major power outages that affected nearly half a million customers. many customers attended a public hearing in rockville earlier this week. a second public hearing will be held tonight in largo. it begins at 6:00 p.m. at the
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prince george's county community college. we have some breaking news out of the gulf of mexico right now. the coast guard says an offshore oil rig in the gulf of mexico has exploded. the rig is located west of the site of bp. that bp rig that we've all been talking about over the last several months. seven helicopters, two airplanes, and four boats are en route to the site. smoke was visible, but it is unclear whether the rig is still burning. we'll have more on this explosion this afternoon on news 4. our time is now 11:40. still ahead on "news 4 midday," investors are hoping for a second day of big gains. we'll have the latest numbers. plus we'll sit down with one of the stars of the musical "chess." the show is open right now at the signature theater.
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the signature theater has announced "chess" will be extended for one week through sunday, october 3rd. one of the stars of that show, yuan morton, joins us this morning with more on the production. >> good morning. >> good to have you with us. >> thank you. >> it is a musical. a lot of folks excited about the music. you'll tell us about that shortly. first of all it's a story set during the cold war between the u.s. and russia. >> that's right. >> it takes place at a world chess championship? >> yeah. it's kind of -- it relates to 1972 when they played chess and the world was fascinated by this
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relationship. it's kind of based around that story, set in 1986. >> it's not a true story but based on -- >> no. it has a loose connection to the history there. >> let's listen a little bit to the music. ♪ that's you there. tell us about your character. >> i play the russian. i'm a scotsman playing the russian and the american character is played by a canadian. the last time the musical was done professionally was in 1993 so it's been 17 years since anyone's tackled "chess." >> who wrote it? >> well, the music's written by the guys from abba. >> yeah. tim rice. >> yeah. they did "mama mia!.mia!." and he gave eric shafer per megs to rework the book and the story
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and we've made quite a few major changes and lost some really special songs but what we've done with it, it's much more of a human story now. the cold war is over. >> is it a love story? >> it is a love story, yeah. the central character is torn between the american and the russian and it's about the choices she makes and about the choices that the russian makes. he defects an then decides to go back to russia to be able to have a relationship with his father. it's much more complicated. >> the show is getting great reviews, i understand. >> yeah. we've been very lucky. nice to hear people are enjoying it. it's had problems in the past and we've had a chance to work with those problems, and it's nice that it's working and the audience rsz enjoying it. >> a great and modern-looking set. >> it is. there's a lot of lights. there's a lot of things to trip on. you have to be careful. >> it runs now through october 3rd. tick its available? >> yeah, absolutely. they're selling fast, though. >> once folks see it -- >> yeah.
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it's going really well. >> you brought somebody on the set. >> i have a 2-year-old son. >> 2 years old. >> 2 years old. i promised one day i would be on t tv with elmo. i want to see you with elmo. >> a lot more important than being on tv with us. >> when you have kids, suddenly all these changes. all about me as an actor, but now i have a son and it's all about him. >> what's your son's name? >>eyian. >> we're glad he's watching. >> if there's anything i can do, anything i can do to help, whatever for children. a wonderful thing you do. >> thank you very much. we've got a wonderful story coming up shortly as a matter of fact. thanks again for coming in. >> thank you monopoly pleasure to meet you. >> condition wait to see "chess." thank you. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke says banks must be shut down if they threaten the system. let's check in with cnbc's courtney reagan who joins us more with live on that and the rest of the day's business headlines. >> good morning, barbara. definitely right now ben
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bernanke on capitol hill at this fcic hearing, sort of an inquiry into the financial crisis. a lot has been focused on lehman brothers and what happened, could it have been saved. ben bernanke says the only way to have saved it would be to break the law. that's where he stands on that. stocks not responding too much. we're practically trading around that flat line. markets really roared their way into september yesterday though with a big rally thanks to some positive manufacturing data. asian markets rose overnight, europe a bit lower. we got some economic data points i want to bring do you, first-time claims for jobless benefits, fell by 6,000 last week, slightly fewer than expected. u.s. worker productivity fell an 1.8% annual rate for the second quarter, more than the government had previously estimated and the biggest drop since the third quarter of '06. and according to the national association of realtors, pending home sales rose in june, actually expected to fall. the level does remain quite a bit below last year's level,
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however. the housing market still remains pretty weak. retailers are reporting mixed august sales today. a bit better than expected, though, because it was really feared that sales would come in quite soft. costco, limited, macy's, kohl's and nordstrom's reported stronger sales than expected. definitely a mixed bag. the weak economy continues to raise concerns the retailers won't be able to clear the fall merchandise before the holidays. labor day could be a washout for the eastern seaboard chains. you know the threat of hurricane earl could keep shoppers at home and dry. and it looks like women are catching up to men come payday. this is a very interesting recent consumer research survey and it finds that women between ages of 22 and 30 without children have bigger paychecks in 2008 than their male counterparts. that was true at least in 47 of the 50 largest u.s. cities. wages averaged 8% higher but did vary from city to city. of those cities surveyed,
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atlanta was the best for women with them making more than double what the men did. back to you, barbara. >> that's good news for women. >> good news for us. >> thanks so much. >> thank you. >> see you tomorrow. some teenagers have spent nearly their entire lives in temporary foster care, never having the sense of belonging to a real family of their own. today's "wednesday's child" is a 14-year-old who is still anxiously hoping that an adoptive family will come forward to claim her and make her their own. >> hi. >> hi. >> so glad to see you. what a beautiful smile you have. >> thank you. >> i really have been looking forward to meeting you. >> you, too. >> you like to dance. is that right? >> yes. >> her interest in dance led us here to stars dance studio in laurel, maryland, where we were greeted by the director. >> welcome. >> hi. >> lesean said she'd like to take a hip top dance class. >> so how long have you been loving the art of hip-hop?
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>> since i was a little girl. >> that's great. we're going to introduce you to miss dawn, your instructor for the day. >> hi. >> great to meet you. >> lesean says she's loved to dance since he was a little girl and since he was a little girl she's been moving from one home to another. >> she came to the attention of the child & family services agency may of 1999. she has been with us since she was 3 years old. she's now 14. that's about 11 years. >> for most of those 11 years she's dreamed of dancing and dreamed of one day having a family that would love her. >> i've been waiting for a family for all my life. >> what do you think you want to be when you grow up? >> i was thinking about being a singer or a dancer, an actress or a rapper. >> you want to go to college? >> sure. i want to get my education, my diploma, my college degree. i want to do a good job doing my
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homework. >> lesean wants to belong to a family. >> i'm looking for a family who is very committed, someone who will not give up on lesean. >> i would like a family that loves me and cares for me a lot and wants to be good to me and keep me safe. >> at the end of the class, lesean was presented with some surprises. >> listen, on behalf of star studios, i'd like to present you with some of our gear here. >> thank you. >> we'd like to invite you back for an entire year's worth of hip-hop lessons. >> yay! >> one day she hopes she'll dance for parents who will love her. >> congratulations. >> if you have room in your home and your heart for lesean or any of our "wednesday's children," please call our adoption hotline at 1-888-to-adopt-me or logon to coming up, a weekend wine festival and meteorologist tom kierein will have another check of the forecast.
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it's time to check out the weekend stuff going on. always good to see you. >> great to be here. >> we're about to hit the wine-tasting season. is that right? lots of festivals around? >> that's right. i always laugh because october is really when harvest season around here begins but we start our celebrations early.
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>> why not? >> absolutely. it's wine. so there are several wine festivals in the next few weeks. it all starts this weekend with the herndon labor day festival, which doesn't sound like a wine festival, but it is. it's this monday. and tickets are $15, and that will not only buy you beer and wine but -- wine but also beer samples, new this year. another is the mt. vernon wine festival. that stars in october. it's october 1st and it always sells out. tickets just went on sale, so you definitely want to get tickets to that. >> wines and spirits made here? >> they are. for the most part maryland or virginia wines. >> tell us about "national geographic" exhibit that's about to open. >> it opens friday. it's called simply beautiful. that's what these images are, just the way the light hits the subject, all about the angles. they're fantastic and really exemplify what "national geographic" does. the show opens on friday. i always say a great time to see an exhibition if you work downtown is go on your lunch
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hour. >> those are so beautiful. now art after dark. tell us about that. >> this is the latest museum sor ray, ars museum of the americas is hosting its first party tonight at 8:00 p.m., and of course as any museum party has, it has dee jays, a great electric rock band and admission is $15 and it's a cash bar. >> at, we have details of that event, art after dark. >> absolutely. >> always great to see you. >> great to see you. >> see you again next week. >> for more ideas on your weekend, log on to the around the town section on or the going-out guide on let's take a look at some of the stories we'll follow for you on news 4 this afternoon. pat lawson muse joins was a preview of things to come. hi, pat. hi, barbara. tonight we'll have the latest on the hurricane, live in the outer banks of north carolina where hurricane earl is expected to blow through later today. also, we'll have the latest from the discovery headquarters as
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the company tries to return to normal today. you've heard the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor is true. it really is true if you store those apples and serve them properly. plus, ways to sneak apples into your kids' meals so they can get all the nutritional benefits that apples have to offer. coming up tonight on news 4 at 5:00, the doors are open at first organic grocery store east of the anacostia. while people in the community are banking on the business's access. those stories and more coming up on news 4. >> thank you, pat. we'll be watching. let's get an update on the weather with tom. >> for the next several days, big changes on the way. today, another hot one, low to mid-90s, high clouds coming in from earl, partly cloudy tonight, partly sunny friday into the mid-80s. but the atlantic beaches will be lashed by wind and rain from hurricane earl. it will be 150 to 200 miles to the center of circulation east of the beaches but close enough for them to feel the effects of heavy surf there, too.
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breezy on saturday, highs near 80. beautiful weekend to follow. on sunday, sunny, near 80 with diminished winds, great labor day, back to work and school tuesday, wednesday, highs near 90s. >> thank you, tom. that's "news 4 midday." thanks for joining us. tune in for "the daily connection" at 2:00 and news tonight.
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